Zionist historians have an ideological mission. They must look back into history and draw essentialist conclusions about the ‘enemies’ of the Jews no matter the countervailing evidence. As long as there have been gentiles determined to persecute and even exterminate the chosen people, there will be a need for an Israel armed to the teeth with jet fighters, advanced missile systems, and nuclear weapons.
Benzion Netanyahu, the father of Israel’s prime minister, published a book on the Spanish Inquisition that traced what he called ‘Jew hatred’ to ancient Egypt, long before Christianity. Naturally that would give his son the license to create an apartheid-like system in the West Bank. Despite nineteenth-century Germany’s vanguard role in forging an Enlightenment that would give Jews full equality, Daniel Goldhagen wrote a book that depicted the German race as essentially bent on the destruction of the Jews from time immemorial.
But pre-Zionist Islam constitutes the biggest challenge for the ideologically-driven historian. Against the preponderant evidence that Jews flourished for the most part under early Muslim rule, there is also some evidence that they were persecuted. This evidence is generally subsumed under the category of dhimmitude, a neologism based on the Arab word dhimmi that is applied to non-Islamic peoples like the Jews and the Christians who were supposedly second-class citizens. The dhimmitude front received a boost from Paul B. Fenton and David G. Littman’s L’ Exil au Maghreb: la condition juive sous l’Islam 1148-1912, published in 2010 but never translated into English, but the book’s tendentious findings have been picked up by Muslim-bashing bloggers. Littman’s Islamophobia is of a long-standing character. In 2005 he contributed several articles to the collection edited by the well-known Islam-basher Robert Spencer titled The Myth of Islamic Tolerance: How Islamic Law Treats Non-Muslims.